Rape by proxy could soon be considered sex crime in Maryland

Rape by proxy could soon be considered sex crime in Maryland

Grown out of the Internet age. Also known as cyberstalking, rape by proxy occurs when someone steals a victim’s identity and then uses online resources to harass and threaten them. Cyberstalking is not considered a sex crime in the state of Maryland. Now, though, state legislators and advocates are working to approve a measure that would make cyberstalking a felony. Violators could be incarcerated for as long as 20 years.

News reports show that the efforts may have been sparked by a recent case in which a man exacted revenge on his ex-wife. The man reportedly assumed his wife’s identity online. After doing so, he proceeded to send out messages soliciting sex. Strangers started arriving at the woman’s house. The victim said that hundreds of men came to her house during a 45-day span in 2012. The messages not only solicited sex, but they also encouraged respondents rape the woman and engage in other sexual misconduct.

Fake profiles with the woman’s pictures and several disturbing headlines were reportedly distributed throughout several Internet forums. The falsified profiles were determined to have been created by the man, and he was sentenced to a 115-year prison term after the incident. News reports do not include the official charges that were levied against that man, though prosecutors say he was accused of a number of misdemeanor counts.

Even though cyberstalking has not yet been officially characterized as a sex crime, that distinction could be made during this legislative session. Individuals who are currently facing charges that relate to cyberstalking may benefit from consulting a Maryland attorney. These professionals may be able to explain more about defendants’ legal rights, even if the new law does not pass.

Source: Odenton-Severn Patch, “Online Threat of Rape by Proxy Should Be Crime, Say Prosecutors” Deb Belt, Feb. 28, 2014

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